The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

Please answer the following questions about the International Organization for Standardization (ISO):

  1. What is its purpose?
  2. When was it founded, and by whom?
  3. Why was it founded?
  4. Where are its headquarters?
  5. What are its international office locations?
  6. What classes of standards does it organize and how?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from more than 160 countries, one from each country. It is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership that is the principal body in its country to develop and contribute to international standards.


The main purpose of ISO is to facilitate international trade by providing common standards among nations. These standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable, and of good quality. They help businesses increase productivity while minimizing errors and waste. For consumers, international standards provide assurance about the quality, safety, and efficiency of the products they buy.

Founding and History

ISO was founded on 23 February 1947. The organization was established to create a common set of standards in different industries. It was a successor to the International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA), which had been disbanded during World War II. The founders were delegates from 25 countries who met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London to coordinate and unify industrial standards.

Reason for Founding

The primary reason for founding ISO was to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards. After the Second World War, there was a clear need for a single organization that could bring together national standard bodies to develop standards that would facilitate international trade and cooperation.


ISO's headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. This location serves as the central point for general management and administration of the organization's global operations.

International Office Locations

ISO itself does not have international office locations in the traditional sense, as it operates through its member bodies in over 160 countries. These national bodies are responsible for the ISO matters in their respective countries and are the direct link to ISO. However, ISO does engage in various international collaborations and has liaison offices with other international organizations, but its central operational hub remains in Geneva.

Organization and Classes of Standards

ISO organizes its standards into various fields and categories, covering almost all aspects of technology and manufacturing. Here are some of the broad classes of standards it organizes:

  1. Quality Management Standards (ISO 9000 series): This series focuses on quality management principles, including a strong customer focus, the involvement of high-level company management, a process approach, and continual improvement.

  2. Environmental Management Standards (ISO 14000 series): These standards are designed to help organizations minimize their environmental impact, comply with applicable laws and regulations, and continually improve in this direction.

  3. Information Security Management Systems (ISO/IEC 27000 series): Aimed at providing a model for establishing, implementing, operating, monitoring, reviewing, maintaining, and improving an information security management system.

  4. Food Safety Management (ISO 22000 series): Standards focusing on food safety management systems, ensuring food safety along the food chain, up to the point of final consumption.

  5. Energy Management (ISO 50001 series): Standards for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and improving an energy management system, with the aim of enabling an organization to follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance.

  6. Health and Safety (ISO 45001): A standard for health and safety management systems, providing guidance for its use to enable organizations to provide safe and healthy workplaces.

ISO develops these standards through a consensus process involving its national member bodies. Committees of experts from the industrial, technical, and business sectors relevant to the standards work in collaboration to draft and finalize the standards. This process ensures that ISO standards are universally applicable, useful, and implementable worldwide.

This article was updated on March 30, 2024